Sunday, 18 November 2012

Garden Diary - 18th November 2012

My poor neglected patch of English suburbia.......

Today I ventured out into my patch of England, which is long overdue. Making Christmas pressies has taken up my spare time and the garden has become very neglected. I haven't even lifted Begonias and Dahlias yet, I hope the frost remains at bay for another week. 

So how's it all going then.....

 A late Lupin bursting forth onto the scene. 

Loads of buds on the Aster. 

Charming Kaffir Lily

The damp Hotbed

Cornish succulents looking fine.

No fruits from the Chillis but I live in hope. 

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

WIP Report 20

How many WIPS? 3

Soliloquy Socks 
Christmas Tree Art
Winter Wurm

How many WIPS started since last report? 8

Vampire's Kiss - Mash Up
Oily Puddle - Mash Up
Greek Island - Mash Up
Lime Zest - Mash Up
Toffee Crisp - Mash Up
Celtic No Knot Hat
Winter Wurm
Snowflake Earrings

How many WIPS completed since last report? 8

Vampire's Kiss - Mash Up
Oily Puddle - Mash Up
Greek Island - Mash Up
Lime Zest - Mash up
Toffee Crisp - Mash Up
Celtic Knot Gloves
Celtic No Knot hat
Snowflake Earrings

How many FOs revamped since last report? 1

Rose Garden is now Roman Roses

Photo Gallery

My Christmas present list is now well under way and only a few left to make, in fact I have time to add a few more to my list. 

Roman Roses

Pre-stringing on my new bead sorting tray - a useful gadget and only £3.50.

Roman Roses - so called because it reminds me of Roman jewellery - for a friend's daughter.

Celtic Knot Gloves

These are so elegant - what a fab pattern - Knotty Gloves by Julia Mueller 

Celtic No Knot Hat

Using Sockhead Hat by Kelly McClure a hat with no knots to wear with the gloves. 

Vampire's Kiss

For a friend who wears a lot of red. 

Oily Puddle

For a friend who wears a lot of purple.

Greek Island

For god daughter who wears a lot of baby blue. 

Toffee Crisp

The delightful Toffee Crisp for a foxy friend. 

Lime Zest

A limey mash up for a friend who wears a lot of green. 

Snowflake Earrings

The CAL from Crocheted Jewellery of the Month on Ravelry - a pair of Snowflake Earrings by Janet McMahon for my friend who loves dangly earrings. 

Soliloquy Sox

Some progress - I have turned the heel and am on the home straight to the toe on sock 1!

Winter Wurm

The Winter Wurm is underway - for me because I don't have a black hat. 

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Crocheted Jewelry of the Month

I have become a Moderator!

Please check out this group on Ravelry Crocheted Jewelry of the Month it is full of ideas and inspiration for fabulous jewellery. It was set up in March 2010 by Likerussell, but she recently announced that she no longer had enough time to dedicate to it - so after a few months of deliberating, I have decided to give it a go. After all it was this Ravelry group that inspired and helped me from my first tentative steps into the world of crocheted jewellery, through my first time using wire, to being brave enough to try designing a few necklaces of my own. It is also this group that is the root cause of my addiction to hunting in charity shops for necklaces I can pull apart and recycle into something new. 

Treasure Chest - 10th November 2012

My latest haul of booty includes:

Top - pearl and silver necklace £2 / Shell necklace £1 from The Rainbow Trust shop.
Bottom - Brown necklace £1.99 from the Richard House Shop
Middle - Red and Pink Bracelets £3.58 from The Children's Society shop

Total cost of Haul = £8.57 (good value for money me thinks:)

What can you find on Crocheted Jewelry of the Month?

Back to the matter in hand - the idea of the Ravelry group is that each month there is a different Crochet Along, this month I have chosen Snowflake Earrings, the pattern is free on Ravelry. 

Some past patterns have included:

Beaded Choker ( I have made loads of these, I absolutely love this pattern).

So why not join the group and crochet a long each month, perhaps learning to do something that you have never done before, hope to see you there. xxxx

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Out and About - The Tower of London

Old and New

What I love about London is the juxtaposition of old and new buildings - take a look at some of these photos round by the Tower of London. 

The London Assembly Building and the gateway to the Tower of London

The Shard and more building works - nothing stays still. 

The Gherkin and 18th Century offices

The Gherkin and the Willis building. 

Guy's Hospital and the Shard

Going into the Tower - not through Traitor's Gate!

Tower Bridge with 20th-century tower blocks in the distance.

The fabulous White Tower. 

I also love partially obscured views. 

So many people have looked out of this window in the White Tower. 

What a mix of centuries - but they look fantastic next to each other - a visual history of London. 

More of London's skyline spanning a millennia. 

I love this: Roman wall, Medieval castle, 18th-century, 19th-century, 20th-century and 21st-century and a London Bus!

Many years ago I worked in an office with a desk overlooking the Tower of London - it was the best view ever from a city desk.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Christmas Mash Ups

Turning my treasure into jewellery. 

Having hunted down enough beads from a variety of charity shops, I set about making some Mash Ups for Christmas presents, I had already made one Caramel Mash Up for my cousin. Here is my list:

Red and Black for friend, Purple and Black for friend, Baby Blue for god daughter, Pale Green for her sister,  Brown and Gold Mash Up for her mum, Leafy Green x 2 for friends and earrings for a friend that doesn't wear necklaces but likes dangly earrings. They are not yet all complete and there are more I could do if get time, but here's how I've done so far..........

What is a Mash Up? 

It is where I buy old necklaces from charity shops and mix them all up to create something new and fresh. I am designing a little label to go with them in the gift box - it will explain that they are Ethical Designs because they give money to charity and recycle old beads. 

To complete the Red and Black I needed some red glass beads and I had almost given up until I found these....

My Saturday morning haul. The white bracelet was 95p in Sue Ryder and the rest was £1 in Marie Curie. 

Here they are waiting to be mashed up. I couldn't believe how perfect this find was. 

And the finished necklace, with some black beads and some large red glass beads I had in my stash. 

I have decided to call this one Vampire's Kiss. 

Next the Purple and Black one - I used some of the beads from the haul at Half-Term plus some from my stash and Hey Presto....

This one is now called Oily Puddle (because the colours remind me of an oily puddle!) 

For the Baby Blue I used more beads from the Half-Term haul. I had to work very hard to clean up the white beads. I had to wash them in Infa Care, bleach them and then use a paper clip to scratch off the grime inside the beads. Then I soaked them in washing powder for an hour -it was worth it in the end. 

This one is called Greek Island. 

Lastly I reused beads from Rose Garden as it wouldn't lay right and made this instead. If I'm honest I'm still not happy with this - so watch this space. 

Crochet Notes - Mash Ups

This is how I put them together.

  1. Gather beads and wash them. 
  2. Divide into two strings with the same large beads in the same place and seed beads or tiny beads in between. 
  3. Thread them onto crochet cotton. 
  4. I usually have 30 seed beads either end followed by 6 slightly larger beads.
  5. 8 chain, bring up seed beads 2 at time, 1 chain in between.
  6. Bring up slightly larger bead 1 at a time, 1 chain in between.
  7. Bring up large bead , 2 chain or 1 chain, seed beads/tiny beads, 2 chain or 1 chain.
  8. When both strings are completed turn one round so that they are not in the same order on each side - this balances it out. 
  9. Attach fastening. 
  10. Think of a relevant name for your creation:)
I'd love to see pictures if anyone else makes one. 

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Tool Box

Good job I'm not a Blue Peter presenter....

In all my years (and there's quite a few) I have never had the occasion to use double sided sticky tape but yesterday all that changed. I decided to revamp an old vanity case that belonged to my mum, I think she bought it back in the 60s.

During the 70s, when I was a child, it was full of her make up and I used to love getting it all out and playing with it - lots of green and blue eye shadow and orange lipstick. It has resided in my loft for many years, with a load of machine knitting tools in it, however I recently sold my knitting machines and the tools, but I thought it would make a good beading tool box. I found a chiffon scarf, bought some velvet ribbon, glue and some double sided sticky tape and away I went. 

I had already removed most of the old red paper lining.

It was in a bit of a sorry state.

The first thing I did was to polish it with Brasso and shoe polish.  I then cut out two cardboard shapes for the lid and the base. 

Here is the finished lid. 

I then realised that because I had to use the scarf doubled up it was going to be tough stretching the material as far as I needed it. 

The sticky tape in place - it was terrible stuff to use I kept getting stuck on it myself. 

The finished lined case with the braiding in place. As you can see I didn't make the best job of it but it will do for now. 

Ready for use but I shall keep a look out for suitable material to do this again - properly.

With my tools - ready to bead........

Friday, 2 November 2012

Treasure Chest - October Half-Term

Half-Term Haul

I have managed to get out and about this week to various nearby towns and so had time to explore charity shops other than my own ones. 

I try to look for glass beads mainly, plus interesting pearls and ethnic style beads - so let's have a look at what I've found.............

From The Cat Protection League for £2 - these are nice as they are - they are good quality, very heavy. 

From Marie Curie for £1 - this is very grubby but will scrub up well as it's glass. 

From Cancer Research for £4 - £3 for the gorgeous wooden beads and £1 for the bracelet. 

From Oxfam - £3.98 in total. The blue necklace was £1.49 and sparkly one was £2.49 - both grubby but have a lot of potential. 

And lastly - from Barnado's for 69p - I love these little glass bead bracelets. 

My total cost for this haul was £11.67 - believe me you wouldn't get that many beads in Hobbycraft for £11.67. I have enough now to make fabulous Christmas pressies - which I shall post pics of on here - watch this space:)

Whilst out shopping I was popping into the usual high street stores and various little boutiques, as I was browsing I came across several necklaces that were quite nice - but nothing much under £10 for a few beads. Now I know I'm going to undo the necklaces and bracelets above and revamp them - but even if you didn't want to do that, you could find a necklace for a third of the cost in a charity shop compared to the chain stores and it's all for a good cause and it's environmentally friendly. 

Knitting Knotes - Bremen Reyna

This wrap is so called because I bought the yarn in Bremen. I began making a pair of socks but wasn't feeling it, then I decided t...